CHESHIRE

Website Link to details of Cheshire's Market Towns

ACTON

This is a small hamlet with an interesting church which dates back to the 13th century. nearby Dorfold Hall is a Jacobean country house built in 1616 with beautiful plaster ceilings and oak panelling. The house is open to the public.

ALDERLEY EDGE

With specialist shops lining the wide main street, Alderley Edge retains a welcoming, relaxed village atmosphere for both browsers and serious shoppers. Its hotels and restaurants offer high-quality hospitality for all visitors and one has recently staked a claim to have more than 200 types of champagne available.

AUDLEM

This is an attractive village where the Shropshire Union Canal descends from Shropshire to the Cheshire Plain by way of 15 locks within a distance of two miles. The canalside facilities together with the shops and pubs in the village make Audlem an ideal stopping place for tourists, particularly those travelling on the canal. The 13th century Parish Church of St James stands proudly above the village on a raised mound and by the canal is a lock-keepers cottage built by Thomas Telford during the construction of the canal.

BARTHOMLEY

This is one of the most attractive villages in the Borough with its sandstone church and black and white timber framed pub surrounded by charming Jacobean cottages with attractive gardens. Nearby is Englesea Brook Chapel and museum of Primitive Methodism.

BICKERTON

The hills here are the highest part of the Borough with a section of the Sandstone Trail long-distance footpath passing through this lightly populated countryside.

BOLLINGTON

Very much an individual town by comparison with the rest of the borough, Bollington's buildings made from the distinctive local Kerridge stone retain a village atmosphere. A gateway to the beauties of the Peak Distirct National Park, Bollington's remnants of industrial history, the splendid Adelphi and Clarence Mills, stand on the banks of the Macclesfield Canal, reminders of the town's heyday for the cotton industry. "White Nancy", a prominent landmark, stands on the Kerridge hills which form a backcloth to the town.

Bollington

BULKELEY

A small village nestling below the sandstone ridge. The Sandstone Trail crosses Bulkeley Hill.

BUNBURY

Dominated by St Boniface's Church which was built largely in the 13th and 14th centuries on the site of an earlier Norman Church. Nearby are half-timbered cottages and a row of almshouses dating from 1874. Bunbury mill is a fully restored 19th century working cornmill and to the west of the village is Beeston Castle.

CHESTER

Chester - the Black and White Town. Pre-dating the modern multi-level shops by several centuries, the Rows in Chester are the first floor shops, forming a continuous upper gallery along the main streets. With the distinctive black and white timber work and oriel windows, the 19th century restorations of much older buildings still fit in wonderfully and enable you to enjoy a new style of pedestrian shopping. The Cross, a reconstruction of the 15th century crucifix, is the historic centre of the City. This was the centre of the Roman Camp layout, and is a wonderful place to watch the passing scene. Town Crier (also the City's Beadle) in full regalia, make regular announcements in summer. The cathedral is built in the distinctive red Cheshire sandstone. Walk the walls - the two mile circuit is almost complete; although the present walls are mainly from the Middle Ages, they have links to the planning of the city that date back to Roman Deva, which began in AD 79. At least part of the circuit should be on every visitor's plan - and the Grosvenor Clock on the bridge that takes the walls over busy Eastgate, is reputed to be the most photographed clock in the UK after Big Ben.

CHURCH MINSHULL

This is a designated conservation area containing an 18th century church.

COMBERMERE PARK

This is the setting for the beautiful Combermere Abbey which was founded in 1130 and restored in the early 1800's. Across the lake is Brakelow Folly, behind which is an obelisk commemorating Field Marshall Viscount Combermere, 1865.

CONGLETON

Congleton is an ancient market town and its history dates back to the Romans. The town was well known as an important manufacturer of leather, including purses and gloves during the 16th Century. A new era began in the town when a large silk mill opened in 1752 and employment was provided for about 500 people. Many of the churches in the town date back hundreds of years. Many of the mill buildings have now been taken over and used as shopping arcades.

DISLEY

Nestling against Lyme Park and on the fringe of the Peak District National Park, Disley's village centre clusters round a classical fountain (1823) and church, with restaurants and antique shops.

FADDILEY

Faddiley has several very attractive and interesting buildings including a row of cottages with tall and unusual chimneys

GREAT BUDWORTH

Great Budworth village is situated about eight miles south of Warrington and overlooked Budworth Mere. The village dates from Saxon times and the name means dwelling by the water. Great Budworth has black and white cottages which are typical of a Cheshire village and every house has its own character. The George and Dragon is the main village pub, the other three pubs are now private homes.

HANDFORTH

At the northern edge of the borough, its development as a residential area and, of recent years, as home to the large, attractive shopping complex of Handforth Dean, Handforth belies its historic origins as part of the estate of Urian Brereton, who built the historic, privately-owned picturesque Handford Hall in 1562.

KNUTSFORD

Knutsford, an the historic town, is situated in the heart of Cheshire's rich countryside. It was formerly called Canutesford, so named after The Danish King Canute forded the river Lily in 1016. Knutsford is rich in history and the authoress Elizabeth Gaskell used to live there. Knutsford has had associations with Sir Henry Royce, Lord Clive of India, artist John Astley and the colourful character Trumpet Major Smith. The Heritage Centre, originally the town's smithy, has a display about Knutsford's past. Knutsford is full of intriguing alleyways, cobbled courtyards and ginnels that connect 'Top Street' to 'Bottom Street'. There are smaller unusual shops tucked away in these areas selling fine wines, cheeses and home-cured delights; art galleries, the Penny Farthing Museum and much more. Stroll around and discover the unusual Italianate style architecture around the town, the buildings being designed by Richard Harding Watt and add to the warmth and character of the surroundings. Take a walk on the Moor, feed the ducks, wander over to the Heath (originally a racecourse and now a recreational area where the crowning of Knutsford's Royal May Queen takes place following the annual May Day procession). Tatton Park, one of the National Trust's most visited country estates is situated in Knutsford. Arley Hall & Gardens andTabley House can also be visited.

Knutsford

MACCLESFIELD

Medieval Macclesfield is the principal town in the borough, among the 30 most wealthy in the county. Centuries of association with the silk industry have not only made the town and its buildings what they are, but have resulted in a trio of unique museums which feature working exhibits, social history and displays of the glamorous fabric. Cobbled streets and quaint old buildings stand side by side wiht a large pedestrianised shiopping centre, major stores and indoor and outdoor markets. Renowned for personal service and a wide range of family-owned specialist shops, the town has the reputation of providing for most needs. The famous and historic Arighi Bianchi store features furniture and furnishing for all. The former Hovis mill stands in Brook Street by the popular Macclesfield Canal. West Park houses the annual Family Fun Day in August when a whole Sunday's entirely free entertainment attracts families from miles around.

Macclesfield

MALPAS

Malpas lies on the borders of England and Wales, an area which was fought over for many centuries by the English and Welsh. The Norman castle was situated behind St Oswald's church, and the mound on which it stood is still visible. St Oswald's Church dates from the 14th century and is set next to the site of where the castle once stood. Inside can be seen some medieval stone carving, a 13th century iron bound oak chest and some interesting early stained glass windows. There are two chapels in the church, one to the Cholmondeley family and the other to the Brereton family. There are other buildings worth having a look at, including the Market House, the 17th century tithe barn and the Cholmondeley almshouses built in 1721. The Red Lion was once visited by King James I in 1624 and the chair he used is still there. The tradition goes that if you sit in the chair you must pay one penny for the privilege or pay for a round of drinks for everyone.The Old Vaults Inn is another pub in the village.

MARBURY

Marbury is a conservation area and a wide range of wildlife can be seen on the meres, now a nature reserve, and surrounding area. St Michael's Church is beautifully set above Big Mere and the village has several attractive buildings.

NANTWICH

A charming market town set beside the River Weaver with a rich history, a wealth of beautiful timber-framed buildings, a wide range of over 250 speciality shops and one of the finest mediaeval town churches in Britain. Beautiful floral displays and lively street entertainment make Nantwich a pleasant and friendly place to visit for shopping, sightseeing or both. There are pleasant walks along the River Weaver and Nantwich Lake, including picnic areas. The Shropshire Union Canal forms a boundary to the town and facilities exist for boat hire, moorings and chandlery at Nantwich Marina. The canal provides opportunities for fishing, boating or just enjoying the peace of the countryside by walking the towpath.

PECKFORTON

This is a small estate village, now a conservation area, on the lower slopes of wooded Peckforton Hills. The village's splendid black and white cottages contrast with its sandstone castle which was built in 1844 by the first Lord Tollemache and occupies a prominent position opposite Beeston Castle.

POYNTON-WITH-WORTH

A thriving small town with a pleasant shopping centre and many links to its historic past as a small mining village. Recreational walkways (inclines) have been formed along old colliery railway trackbeds, linking into the Middlewood Way, and there is a Poynton Farm Trail, too. The Park, with its large pool, is home to a popular agricultural and horticultural show every August. The Anson Museum tells the local story and also has a fine collection of gas engines. On the main road the restored fountain commemorates Queen Victoria's Jubilee. The Brookside Garden Centre houses a Miniature Railway and Museum, open all year round.

PRESTBURY

This unspoilt picturesque village on the River Bollin with historic inns and renowned restaurants, galleries and shops, is a happy hunting ground for discriminating visitors. Some buildings date from the fourteenth century and there is a fine Norman Chapel next to the parish church.

Prestbury

WARMINGTON

Warmington is set on the River Wheelock which flows through the village and is crossed by an old stone bridge. St Leonard's Church is extremely attractive, opposite which is a group of period cottages. Also in the village is Warmingham Mill.

WILLASTON

Here is the home of the annual World Worm Charming Championships. Willaston hall is a Georgian structure built in 1731 of brick and stone dressings.

WILMSLOW

Retaining a village atmosphere, Wilmslow has a reputation for sophisticated modern shops which surround a fashionable department store, together with a range of restaurants suiting all tastes. "Lindow Man", now in the British Museum, was discovered in peat workings at nearby Lindow Common. The smallest tourism attraction in the country, "Romany's Caravan" draws visitors with happy memories of BBC Children's Hour programmes to its site in the town centre.

Wilmslow

WINSFORD

Winsford is located in the heart of rural Cheshire. The town developed as the result of large salt deposits which are relatively easy to mine. Winsford is made up of three parishes ie Over, St Chads, and Wharton. These ancient parishes were combined to form Winsford in the 19th century. The name "Winsford" is of uncertain origin but probably derives from Wain's or Wynne's and Ford ( Mr wains crossing point of the river Weaver). There may well have been a ford at the lower end of Welsh Lane where it meets the river. The most prominent geographical feature of note is the Flashes. This area of open water is created by salt being washed out of underlying rock and the subsequent collapse of the overlying rock.Flashes are common features of Cheshire landscape and Winsford's are the largest and most well known.

WRENBURY

This is a delightful village set around a green. St Margaret's Church probably dates from the early 18th century and Wrenbury Hall is a pleasant 17th century building in the Elizabethan style. The Llangollen Canal flows through the village which makes an ideal stopping place for tourists.

WYUNBURY

Wyunbury is best known for its leaning church tower which is all that remains of the Parish Church. The chancel was demolished because of structural problems caused by sandy soil. The tower developed a dangerous list and was underpinned in 1989 and made safe. Wynbury Moss is the only one of its kind in Great Britain and is now a nature reserve to protect its rich variety of unusual flora and fauna.